USA defeat Costa Rica at home: 2-1
Sometimes the generational change comes very quickly. Sometimes it does it very slow.
The United States and Costa Rica are proof of this.
With an average age of 24.6 years, the North Americans beat the Costa Rican team 2-1, the oldest (28.9 years) in the final eighth of the Concacaf.
And on the court this situation was too noticeable … for better or for worse.
On the Columbus Crew court, the Costa Ricans went ahead with a goal from Keysher Fuller, a player for his country’s Herediano, just in the second minute.
The inexperience of the United States had been showing itself as one of the stones in the shoes of Gregg Berhalter’s team and that dressing room goal began to set off alarms in a team full of talented players.
Age does matter
But precisely that age disparity took its toll on Costa Rica as the minutes passed.
And it was clear, the Americans were playing at a different pace. A midfield made up of two veterans like Celso Borges —33 years old— and Yeltsin Tejada, who is already in his 30s, could not compete in speed and dynamism with Weston McKennie (23 years old), Tyler Adams (22) and Yunus Musah (18) , who became owners of the party.
And another twenty-something, Sergiño Dest, matched everything.
The Barcelona player received all the facilities of a bland and generous defense to find a loophole and define with an angled left foot to beat Keylor Navas.
The Paris Saint Germain goalkeeper went to rest and did not return. According to the Central American media, Keylor suffered a groin discomfort that prevented him from continuing in the game, but the criticism is harsh for someone who seldom agrees to come to this kind of game with his team.
Costa Rica maintains the base that surprised the world in Brazil 2014. It is now seven years and years weigh heavily.
A clear sample was given in the second half, with 1-1 still on the scoreboard.
Hoffenheim defender Chris Richards misled a ball at the start shortly before midfield and former Tico star Bryan Ruiz intercepted to drive toward the goal protected by Zack Steffen. But the gas ran out.
Ruiz, 36, came to the edge of the large area and instead of heading towards the substitute goalkeeper of Manchester City of England, he decided to cut to the inside. Richards, 21, had already sprinted back to wash off his mistake. The veteran Alajuelense player had about five meters of advantage, but the three musketeers are not the same as 20 years later.
The goals you don’t make will be made to you, so Timothy Weah got on track, with a right hand he hit the post of substitute goalkeeper Leonel Moreira and the ball ended up rebounding for an own goal that defined the game and left the United States with 11 points for the six that Costa Rica has, which is watching from afar its ticket to the Qatar World Cup.— MIGUEL ÁNGEL CALDERÓN LÓPEZ
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